Relocate Crown Estate to the islands

Stornoways inner harbour
Stornoways inner harbour

The Crown Estate should be moved out of Edinburgh and relocated to one of the Scottish islands, according to Labour MSP David Stewart.

Mr Stewart is pressing the Scottish Government to make the decision to decentralise the organisation as it now has devolved Crown Estate revenue and management powers.

Scottish ministers have control over thousands of hectares of rural land, approximately half Scotland’s foreshore and leasing the seabed for rights to renewable energy.

In a recent Parliamentary Question, Mr Stewart asked if the Government had plans to redistribute Crown Estate posts across Scotland.

However, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham replied there were no current plans for change but said a new framework was being developed for the long term management of Crown Estate assets in Scotland, with discussions ongoing about potential pilot schemes, and any staffing issues would need to be considered carefully.

“This Government is known for its centralising policies so it would be a bold move if it promised to relocate jobs to one of our islands,” said Mr Stewart who represents the Highlands and Islands.

“I know that the Orkney Islands are already keen on the idea of there being a base there and no doubt the Western Isles and Shetland would also welcome the relocation of such jobs and services.

“As the organisation deals with so much foreshore it would seem like a logical move.”

This is the first year of operation for Crown Estate Scotland’s Interim Management, following devolution on April 1 this year.

Ms Cunningham told Mr Stewart, one of its primary goals is to prepare the organisation to respond to Scottish Ministers’ long term objectives for the management of Crown Estate assets in Scotland.

Its centre of operations is Edinburgh with staff also based in Moray at Glenlivet and Fochabers.

The transfer is part of the changes contained in the 2016 Scotland Act. Crown Estate assets were worth a total of £271.8 million in 2015/16 and generated a gross annual revenue of £14 million.